It’s not quite a renewal order, but NBC confirmed on Friday that the James Spader-fronted drama The Blacklist has earned a full season order at the network. The network has added nine episodes to flesh out the first season of the series, bringing the total episode count to 22.
The decision is actually a quick one for the somewhat cautious network. NBC has only aired two episodes of the cat and mouse drama so far. Granted, those two episodes have done quite well in a cushy timeslot on Monday nights, airing after The Voice. The first episode earned a 3.8 rating in the 18-49 demo—at least when counting live+ same day views. The show upheld most of its audience after the second episode and those ratings looked good enough that NBC went ahead and greenlighted the back nine order for the drama. Deadline first reported the news.
The only thing that NBC needs to be concerned about is whether or not The Blacklist can hold up on Monday nights whenever The Voice is no longer there to act as a cushion. Revolution was in a similar position last year, and we need look no further than where the ratings are at for that series now that the singing competition series is no longer there to support the drama to know there may be some cause for concern.
Still, so far, The Blacklist has proven to be a pretty exciting series, and I’ve shown up on Monday nights without watching The Voice lead-in. James Spader is fascinating to watch as Red Reddington, a wanted fugitive who turns himself in so that he can take down some other big name criminals. As he dryly notes in the second episode, the FBI’s “working for him” now, and I can’t wait to eventually figure out what Reddington’s motivations are. Additionally, setting up a strange relationship between Reddington and FBI newbie Elizabeth Keene (Megan Boone) has been pretty watchable.
Getting picked up for the back nine episodes this early is impressive, but not quite as remarkable as getting renewed after only a few episodes. On Thursday, Fox went ahead and renewed its big new drama, Sleepy Hollow, for a second season based on that show's ratings. That drama, like The Blacklist, has remained steady over the past several weeks. NBC may not be willing to go out on a limb and sign on for a second season this early. But if The Blacklist’s story—and in extension its ratings—remain solid, James Spader and co. shouldn't have a thing to worry about.
You can catch new episodes of The Blacklist on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET. You can also currently catch up on the first two full episodes over at NBC’s site.
Here’s what’s coming up in the series.